There is something dark covering this land. Something treacherous plaguing this country. But it isn’t what you think. It’s not relativism or feminism or even homosexuality. It’s not people questioning Biblical truth. It’s not even people questioning Christianity. It’s this “culture war” facade of Christianity that we’ve allowed to develop, that we’ve perpetuated, that makes a category for “us” and a category for “them.”
There’s been a lot of “us vs. them” talk on the Internet lately, particularly on Twitter. This idea that it’s “Christians” versus “Non-Christians” in a battle for who-knows-what now. The ridiculous notion that gay people are our enemies. The heresy, even, that God’s grace somehow makes us better than those who have yet to experience it. No, we don’t say it. But as Magneto said, “No one ever talks about it. They just do it.”
I try to use wisdom and discernment when I address issues like this, and I’ve tried to stay out of this one because I want this to be a place that is more about gospel than controversy. I want people who come here to come because they want to read Truth instead of coming to get another perspective on the latest Evangelical scandal. I was content to stay out of it.
Then I saw this…
I'm so angered by people who view non-Christians as the enemy. I was basically told I shouldn't like Bill Nye because he's an atheist.
— Bethany Pegors (@bpegors) September 6, 2013
The only problem with this is the entirety of the Bible. Where in Scripture do we see that we should not appreciate the work of a non-Christian? Is there anywhere in Scripture that states that only a Christ follower can see truth? Please, is there anywhere in the whole Bible, taken in the context of the whole Bible, that says that the ability to understand and see beauty and truth are removed from those who don’t follow Christ?
Now, what you will find is places like Proverbs 3:19 where it talks about God’s wisdom and knowledge being used during, and poured into, creation, ordering it a certain way and making some things true and others false. So, isn’t the secular scientist, even the atheist, digging deep into the natural revelation of God when he does his work? Isn’t he proclaiming how God ordered the universe as he presents his findings, if he has indeed been true to science? Isn’t the secular musician displaying a type of God’s beauty when they play? We may object to specific lyrics, but can’t we at least see the talent God gave them to rhyme, to sing, and to perform? All truth is God’s truth, even if discovered or displayed by a person who denies God.
More than that, it comes down to the fact that this culture-war Christianity we have allowed to take place not only betrays a misunderstanding of the non-believer’s ability to see truth and this be seen as a good thing, it also betrays a misunderstanding of who are enemy really is.
Ephesians 6:12-12 ESV (emphasis mine)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Yes, Scripture tells us that those who hate the Light of Christ and want to live in darkness will hate us. They will declare us enemies of their freedoms, of their lifestyles, and of tolerance. Those who wish to remain in darkness will declare the children of Light as their enemies, and they will persecute us. It’s all over the New Testament. It’s not a possibility, it’s a promise. It happened in the first century church and it’s happening now.
But, if you’ll notice, the Bible doesn’t give us an option to perpetuate that “us vs. them” culture that they have created. They will be aggressive. What is our response? Preach the gospel. Proclaim the truth and glory of God in Christ Jesus. Shout from the rooftops the love of God for His enemies. Debunk the myth that there is an “us” and a “them” in the eyes of Christians. There is an “us,” and we all belong to it. This “us” are those desperately in need of God’s saving grace. So, we preach the gospel with our lips and our lives to make his name famous, not to preserve a cultural norm to which we’ve become accustomed.
I understand there are all kinds of facets to how a Christian stands against injustice, oppression, and darkness. Prayer, politics, and law enforcement, to name a few. Yet, if each of these is not fueled by the love of Christ, with that love being displayed toward the lost, then we’ve missed the point. If we become so caught up in changing politics and trying to push back the effects of darkness instead of making war against the demonic powers driving secular culture, we have lost sight of the kingdom of God.
If our main concerns are more about how redefining marriage creeps us out or feminism challenges male headship than trying to see through to the pain and brokenness of a person who needs healing — even Christians who would fall in these categories — then we have made an idol out of our comfort and that idol needs to be knocked down. If our love for conservative political views makes us hate the lost and broken, then I dare say we have made an idol out of our formerly conservative country, and that idol needs to fall and make way for the glory of Christ and the kingdom of God.
There is absolutely a time and need to educate Christians. But when we use online platforms to do this, we have to be aware that non-Christians are watching and reading, too. We don’t back down from truth. We don’t take a soft stance on sin. But we do take a humble position when calling others to repent. We walk honestly and authentically. We admit our faults and failures. We write like we would preach on Sunday, not like we’d turn in a paper at Seminary.
Too often, we point people to the cross from afar instead of kneeling down in front saying “Come, there’s room for you, too.”
We need to repent. God help us and give us strength.